How To Build Muscle

How To Build Muscle – The 4 Key Elements

If you’ve landed in this section, chances are it wasn’t by accident. You have a goal – A goal to gain size and you want to know how to build muscle.

If you’re new to this game, then before we begin, let me be the first to welcome you and congratulate you on wanting to become a part of this amazing journey to improve your physique. When you’re done reading this page, you’ll have the knowledge and understanding on how to build muscles. This will be a huge head start over most other gym users.

I’ll warn you though, this journey is long and at times, difficult but the rewards you will reap with your new body are worth every effort.

Knowing that this journey can be difficult and will require immense dedication:

Are you ready to continue? Are you ready to learn how to build muscle?

If yes, please read on and it will be my pleasure to show you how to build muscles.

You won’t regret reading this if you’re new because these are the most important elements to building muscle. Getting just one of these wrong will be detrimental to your gains!

If you’ve been in the game for a while but have seen little or no results then you may be missing one or more of the 4 key elements or not paying it as much attention as you should be. Ever heard the saying …

You’re Only As Strong As Your Weakest Link?

We’ve spoken a lot about these 4 mystery elements. I think it’s about time they introduced themselves!

The 4 key elements needed to build muscle fast are …

  1. Nutrition

  2. Training

  3. Recuperation/Recovery

  4. Supplementation

  • Imagine the 4 elements as a chain: break one of them and the whole chain is broken.
  • The relevance of this analogy is this – If you’re missing one of these key elements (with the exception of Supplements) then you will get ZERO gains. Not a smaller amount of gain, not minimal gains but ZERO gains especially if you’re not genetically gifted.
  • In case you’re wondering, yes, they have been put in order of importance. Let’s take a look at each key element and understand why they are each so important. You’ll also see a percentage figure of how important I believe each element to be. Pay close attention – Now you’ll learn exactly how to build muscles. Class is in session! 🙂

Nutrition – 40%

  • The most important of all 4 elements but easily the biggest mistake most gym users looking to build muscle fast will make is not eating enough calories or enough protein to grow.
  • You can train as hard as you like but without fueling your muscles outside of the gym then all of your hard work will be for nothing!
  • I’ll say it again, your hard work in the gym will be for NOTHING!
  • Can you imagine training as hard as you can? – Performing heavy squats until you’ve nearly puked, grinding out those last two reps on the bench press with the absolute last of your strength…for nothing!?
  • Not something many of us would like to hear or think about but it’s true. If you’re not going to eat enough calories then you might as well not train because you’ll be wasting your time and more importantly your blood, sweat and tears in the gym (well, hopefully not blood!)
  • How much do we need to eat to build muscle?
  • Unfortunately there isn’t a ‘one diet fits all’ solution. How much and of what you need to eat will depend on your genetics and body type. One thing your diet definitely should have if your goal is to build muscle is at least a gram of protein per pound of your bodyweight daily (or your KG x 2)
  • Example : A person weighing 150lbs should consume at least 150 grams of protein. Somebody weighing 75 KG should be eating at least 150 grams of protein per day
  • Your ideal muscle building diet is going to be discovered by using trial and error to see what response you get from your body.
  • However, we can follow some guidelines and a great place to start is the Harris Benedict formula BMR calculator. BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate and is the minimum amount of calories your body needs in a day to carry out it’s basic functions. You can then use this figure to find out your ‘Total Caloric Daily Expenditure’.
  • You should be aiming to consume at least 500 calories MORE than your total daily expenditure if your goal is to build muscle. If you still aren’t experiencing muscle gain then increase your daily calorie intake further until you do. Similarly, if you’re gaining too much fat, cut back slightly on your daily calorie intake.
  • This is by far the hardest thing to do if you’re not used to eating this amount of food when you’re first learning how to build muscles, but it’s the most important element in your muscle gain phase! Stick with it and you’ll be happy with your new rippling muscles!

Training – 30%

  • On to another very important element – Training! If you don’t subject your muscles to enough stress through muscle building workouts then they will have no reason to grow. The body is a very clever machine that adapts to everything we do in order to survive. That is our bodies number 1 goal (This explains why our body would much rather hold on to fat for a survival tool because it is over two times as energy dense than muscle!)
  • So, when you are lifting weights in the gym during your workouts and it feels difficult, how do you think your body will react? It will react by thinking
  • ”Wow! That was tough! I better make these muscles bigger and stronger so that they can handle the weight next time”
  • Remember, that the body is efficient at surviving. Put stress on your muscles and your body will respond by making them bigger and stronger to survive your next workout. As we get bigger and stronger we need to be lifting heavier or in greater quantities to keep the body responding in this manner. This is called Progressive Overload and is super important.
  • As a general rule of thumb, most muscle building workouts will have you working on specific body-parts 1-2x a week maximum to avoid over-training. (You’ll learn more about over-training when we talk about recuperation)
  • However, you need to feed your body with food too otherwise your body will have no tools with which to repair your muscles. Do you see how the chain analogy comes into play here?
  • No muscle gain without training but no muscle gain without nutrition! Break one of these important links and you get NOTHING
  • The take home lesson here is that you must train to build muscle BUT your muscles are built outside of the gym, not inside it which brings us nicely on to our 3rd key element…

Recovery and Recuperation – 20%

  • If you’ve had a hard workout, it is now a waiting game for your muscles to recover and grow. DO NOT make the mistake of being so eager when starting out that you hit the gym every single day and work the same muscle groups 5 times a week.
  • Why? Because you will regress rather than progress. Relax, I know you’re excited and you want to build muscle fast but your muscles need time and fuel to grow. Less is more with muscle building. If you hit the gym again before your muscles have repaired from your last workout then you will not be stronger or bigger resulting in no progression in your workouts thus no progression in muscle size.
  • This is called over-training and something you want to avoid at all costs!
  • How much recuperation do you need? Due to genetics and different body types, again, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ answer to that question unfortunately.
  • However, you will notice that most decent muscle building workouts will have you working your specific body parts once or twice a week maximum. This normally means training 2-4 days a week. Check here to find out more and for some sample muscle building workouts.
  • Another component of recovery is nutrition. If you don’t consume the right nutrients in the right amounts, then you will not recover. Do you see how nutrition crosses over into recovery as well? No more needs to be said about nutrition – It is vital!
  • Sleep is also important for recuperation. How much we need has been argued but at least 7-8 hours is normally recommended for optimum muscle building and day to day function. This makes sense – Firstly, high levels of the anabolic (muscle building) hormone, GH (growth hormone) are released during a deep sleep. This hormone will help your muscle building efforts.
  • Secondly, how good do you feel when you’ve had little sleep? Most of us can’t function or concentrate properly without a good nights sleep so how do you expect to get through your workout with maximum intensity if you’re lacking in energy or concentration? If you can function normally, then more power to you but for the rest of us…Get some sleep!

Supplements – 10%

  • Some will argue that this 4th element isn’t ‘Key’ and that most gym users focus too much on this aspect rather than the more important things such as nutrition.
  • I definitely agree but I would also argue that for some people, supplements will have a direct correlation to whether they achieve their nutrition goals. How important is nutrition? You know the answer to that.
  • At the very basic level of supplements (I’m talking protein and multivitamins), they can be the difference maker. If you can’t eat enough protein through solid food then you won’t build muscle. Adding one or two protein shakes to supplement (important word – Means ‘in addition to’, not ‘instead of’) your diet and hitting your protein target will mean that you will gain muscle.
  • That’s what the goal is right? Gain muscle! Don’t get me wrong – Most supplements are not worth the fancy labels they’re wrapped up in and most trainees spend far too much time and money on supplements when the solution is usually much more straight forward – Nutrition nutrition nutrition! Eat more! Key element number 1.
  • Pick a standard whey protein powder and a good multivitamin and you’re on your way. Creatine is also an option. You can build muscle without supplements but you will build slightly more with them.
  • Do not waste your money on fancy, exotic sounding supplements and remember that supplements are only 10% important to your gains for a reason. Focus more on the top 3 elements for fast muscle gain!
  • I’d say you are now better equipped than 90% of new starters to this journey and also probably know more about how to build muscles than 70% of people who have been working out for years!
  • Look at these 4 key elements as a template to building muscle. I’ve given you a basic template but now YOU need to find the finer details that will give the optimal results for your body.

Which nutrient ratio works best for your body?
What muscle building workout will work best for you?
How much recovery will your body need?
Which supplements will your body respond well to?

  • These are all questions that can only be answered on your muscle building journey through your own personal experience.
  • This site was built to further your knowledge about muscle building and fat loss but ultimately it will all boil down to actually doing and experiencing it for yourself.
  • You can never stop learning how to build muscles and the muscle building tips and articles section was created for exactly this purpose so do make sure you read up often.
  • Thanks for reading, I hope that your journey is a rewarding one and people will soon come to you for advice on how to build muscles!
  • You may now begin your muscle building journey but remember – Break one of the Key Elements and it will break you!
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About Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly is suntanned, blond, and reasonably fit. He loves surfing, hence the suntan, eating good food, and writing about health and fitness. His nomadic lifestyle following the waves means he gets to write about what he loves whilst doing what he loves. One day he may turn his interest in health and fitness into a formal degree but for the moment, surfs up.